Sunday, January 21, 2007

Are You Feeling Down and Out, My Friend?

Chinese New Year (CNY) is around the corner. And for the year of the Boar (2007), the first day will fall on Feb 18. CNY is always a festive occasion during which propitious greetings are exchanged, and wishes of prosperity in the New Year dispensed.

However, it’s also an opportune time for sagacious advice for a variety of emotional uplift: happiness, relief of depression, getting over grief, etc. Thus, the advent of the Internet age has promoted the widespread circulation of these so-called motivational messages via emails, whether solicited or not, which tend to peak around festive seasons such as CNY, Christmas, and the like.

And yesterday I received just one such email from my brother-in-law, who has been temporarily assigned to a project in Qatar. The email is a slide show of several anecdotes aimed at making one walk out of the shadow of one’s depression, whatever the cause, in Chinese. So here I’m at it again, doing an English translation in an effort to share the contents, which I find easy to relate, and simple to understand. In the end of it all, it brought smiles to my face and a conviction that indeed all things will come to pass, and spring will descend upon us. Here it goes, somewhat verbatim because it is an English translation, but I have endeavored to stay true to the core of the message.

My friends, are you feeling down and out?
Here are several anecdotes and phrases that could lift your spirit out of the blues.
Please thrust me, everything will come to pass, and spring will arrive, again.

1) There is a shop that is always awash with bright light. Somebody asked, “What kind of light tubes do you use? They are so durable!”
The shopkeeper replied, “We do have our fair share of burnt out tubes. But we always make it a point to replace it when it does.”

So the way to maintain brightness is actually very simple. All we need is constant replacement.

2) On his/her way to a job interview, an applicant spontaneously picked up a shred of paper on the ground, and disposed it in a trash bin, not realizing that his/her casual act was witnessed by the passing interviewer. So the applicant got the job.

So to be recognized and rewarded is quite simple. All we need to do is to cultivate good habits.

3) A child said to the Mom, “Mom, you look great.”
“Why so?” the Mom asked in surprise.
“Because you are not angry today.”

So to look great is really simple. Just don’t be angry, that’s all.

4) A young apprentice was repairing a broken bicycle where he worked. In addition to finishing the repair, he also cleaned up the bike so that it looked new. Other apprentices ridiculed him for doing extra. The day after the bike owner took back the bike, the apprentice was recruited to the owner’s firm.

So to be able to advance one’s career is really simple. All we need to do is to go beyond the call of duty.

5) While breaking through its shell, a chick saw a turtle passing by. From then on, the chick carries the shell all its life.

Actually letting go of a heavy burden is quite simple. All we need to do is to change our stubborn way and abandon our prejudices.

6) Frog A in the field advised frog B, which is perched at the road side, to move back to the field as the road side is a dangerous place. But frog B declined, saying that it is already used to living at the road side, and is lazy to do so. After several days, frog A came visiting again, but discovered that frog B was already crushed, another road kill statistic.

So the way to determining our own fate is really simple. All we need to do is to avoid being lazy.

7) Several kids yearned to be angels. God gave each a candle holder, and asked each to maintain the candle holder in a sparkling clean condition. Several days passed without God came acalling. Almost all the kids stopped giving their candle holders a daily rub. Then one day God appeared. All the candle handles were covered in thick dust, except one, one held by the kid who has earned the nickname, the Dumb Kid, because he was always rubbing the candle holder, even in the absence of God. And the Dumb Kid became an angel.

So to become an angel is really simple. All we need to do is to put our heart in what we do.

8) A gold prospecting expedition was moving through a desert. Everyone was trudging along, feeling sore all over, except for one. When asked why he was so at ease, he replied, “because I carry the least.”

So to be happy is really simple. All we need to do is to crave less.

Where is life’s vibrancy?

In the morning when you wake up, the vibrancy is on your face, ready to embrace the future with a smile.

In the afternoon, the vibrancy is in your gait, spotting a straight back to live for the moment.

At night, the vibrancy is in your steps, firmly on the ground when bettering yourself.

Actually to live is really simple too. All we need to do is to appreciate our blessings, and to face up to our challenges. Then the vibrancy of life is all ours to keep.

Our Smiling Declaration:
A smile is your own only.
Two smiles are yours and mine.
But N smiles are from all of us.

On this special occasion,
A smile can bring us a gesture of caring, a sense of love, and a feeling of thrust.
Relax a bit, smile to each other, and spring will be in the air.

My dear friends, we do not have to be afraid of depression as we are not alone. In facing up to our problems together, we will prevail.

So take care. Here’s wishing you good health and be happy, and smile always.

End of message.

Some parting words.
The difference between being a sage and being a clueless sentient being is only a thought away. In other words, for mere mortals like us, to become a sage is really not that far away. You can do it.


chen said...

very good knowledge/information to share. a lot of people does suffer depression this day, My self feel low mood a lot of time in my life.

although hard to see that because I am a people person so look very happy around people.

I do have say that it take a lot of diligence for "be happy" and also that learning Buddhism really helped me a lot. (with Buddha's blessing too, of course)

the essence of Buddhism helped one realized that one of importance factors to be happier is to crave less.

the more "things" you want, the less happy you are.

because we attached to more things and the chance we getting everything is not possible.

good article. thanks again to share this.

Beekhoon is great, she helped a lot by demonstrated a good role model for me to follow.

Her positive attitude that practice Buddhism in real life and sunny smiles inspired people like me and my roomate.


Say Lee said...

Glad you enjoy her company. She does have that kind of effect on people, an innate ability to relate to people, especially children.

Chen said...

we all Love Beekhoon sister!

Kitty Girl said...

Ah, so nice! At first I was confused at the chick/turtle one, but then I suppose it means that the chick was kind of dumb to carry around its shell? Or was it the other way round? But these are good lessons all around... Especially no. 8!

Say Lee said...

Because the chick did not now better and could only think one-dimensionally.

No. 8 is also the most profound. But once you get through it (able to shed one's baggage), then it's likely the most rewarding one too.